In 2010, I had the honor of being named "Lesbian of the Year" by a regional organization that I was only vaguely familiar with - The Keystone Alliance/Gaylife Newsletter. I actually didn't know I was nominated or made it through two voting levels to be a finalist and eventual winner, so I wasn't present at the ceremony. I felt bad about that.
I was a little perplexed at their decision to give a "Spirit Award" to Senator John Eichelberger who was sponsoring a "marriage protection" amendment and had infamously said gays were "permitted to exist."
The Senator had apparently intervened in a dispute with the national PFLAG office. So nothing is without controversy, eh?
Anyway, I was nominated again in 2011 and made it to the finals, but did not win. (Snap!) This year, I was again nominated in that category and was also nominated with my partner, Ledcat, for "couple of the year." I approached the newsletter editors about the lack of social media inclusion in the awards and they agreed to open this category to blogs.
In 2013, they are going to unveil a separate category for all social media which is great because there is a ton of exciting stuff happening with podcasts, LiveJournal, Twitter and more in Pittsburgh's LGBT community
So why does this matter? There are several reasons.
First, local LGBT blogs are simply never going to be on the radar of the big social media awards. When it comes down to a choice of five LGBT blogs, you won't see "Pittsburgh lesbian anything" on the list. I'd love if the Advocate and About.com and other such organizers did take local impact into account, but I'm not sure that's viable. Or that Pennsylvania would merit much attention given how much good stuff is happening elsewhere.
Second, it matters to me that local folks appreciate my blog. That's my audience and that's whom I advocate for on a general day to day basis. To meet my goals, I need to motivate them to make the calls, read the paper, attend events and connect with organizations. So its flattering to be recognized for those efforts and to realize that someone is paying attention.
Finally, who doesn't like to win? Be honest! Be it a door prize or an award, it feels great to be "that person" ...and I dare you to deny that with a lot of sputtering about serving the community, the greater good, not being worthy, etc. I know I'm a pretty good blogger and I'm a strong blogger for our region. I deserve to be acknowledged for it. I also know that nominating the Advocate blog in a PA regional context is silly. How many PA stories has the Advocate covered? And should they?
What works is when I diligently blog, get some recognition and have Bil Browning say "When are you going to apply to blog with us?" Now, our regional issues have a national audience driven by a regional voice. That's the way it should work.
The voting process is a little convoluted so I won't lay it out here, but if you feel inspired to support a regional LGBTQ blog click here for the details on how to vote for Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents. I'd appreciate your support!